The Final Empire: Chapter 10
THE PSYCHOLOGY OF EMPIRE
Biological life on earth assembles and unifies energies. The tree sprouts from a seed and begins to draw the energies of air, water, soil and sun to it for assemblage into biological form. As the tree creates its unity of form it then integrates with the other systems around it, the soil community, the plants and animals. This interaction increases as energy pathways and new biological niches are created which support new life forms. It is the balanced integration and the proliferation of energy pathways that potentiates the living world and provides its power of endurance.
Wheat, barley and rice, the initial biological slaves of empire, were able to produce surpluses because they could drain the energy of the assembled unities of the soil community. It is this energy; gained by looting the laboriously assembled natural unities that fuels empire. This has allowed the explosive growth of civilization. The ecologies of forests, grasslands, wetlands, continental shelves and so forth are dismantled and the energy is turned into the growth of civilization.
The life of the earth functions in its balanced way because each being lives according to its particular nature. The decentralized power of all life resides in each being. The pattern of empire culture in contrast, is to centralize power over life and consequently the natural patterns disintegrate. A golf course, for example, appears very neat and orderly. With its edged borders, well watered grass and trees, it represents the epitome of orderliness to the mind conditioned by empire. In the reality of earth life, created and conditioned by cosmic forces, it is a gross disorder. Where once stood a life potentiating, balanced and perpetual, climax ecosystem with its diverse circulating energies and manifold variety of beings, there are now a few varieties of designer plants kept alive by chemicals and artificial water supplies. A staff of maintenance people is kept busy battling the integrated life of the earth that attempts to rescue this wound by sending in the plants, animals and other life forms that are naturally adapted to live in the area.
This same disintegration occurs in human society when it is impacted by empire. When empire strikes the forager/hunter tribe, the fragile thought form of culture, all of the memories of the oral literature, the ways of making utensils, dwellings and tools and the natural modes of relationship begin to disintegrate.
The natural web of relationships disintegrates and the people become entrapped in a coercive relationship with the invader. In this pattern, the individual experiences physical and psychic disintegration. In empire culture the individual is alienated and thrust into conflict on all levels. Both the social structure of empire and its ideational contents shape the individual and it is not an integrative and healing system.
We live in a culture that conditions us toward psychological disintegration. It is a culture that confuses and masks our biological identity, encouraging us to believe that we are something other. The examination of these disintegrative factors will aid us in creating a new culture that is pointed toward healing and wholeness.
Human Life is Severed From its Source
The culture of empire has severed itself from its center in the life of the earth. Civilized people find their survival not in the life of the earth but in human society. They are dependent upon what human society produces. The empire feeds on the earth like a tumor, irrespective of natural patterns. The individual person in the culture of empire does not directly feed from the earth, as do forager/hunters, that person feeds from the tumor body. The social body sucks energy out of the earth by means of mass, centrally directed, organization and creates massive artificial environments conducive to this further extortion. The continual conflict of culture with the natural patterns of life creates insecurity, which pervades the society. Natural culture is one of affluence. In empire unlimited demands and growth create scarcity and insecurity. The pattern of the culture itself also creates a context of competition and conflict for each individual. This leads to insecurity, which follows most people throughout life.
Insecurity generates fear and defensiveness. Fear and defensiveness generate anger and negative emotional states. Anger and negative emotional states generate conflict. Individual fear, defensiveness, anger and conflict are entirely congruent with the career of empire itself. Empire is a culture of conflict internally and externally.
Disorder in the Society of Cells
The integrated nature of organic forms and the role of each life form are demonstrated by their place in the metabolism of the whole. But there is an example of a life form, which like empire does not follow the pattern. This example is cancer. The cancer cell breaks the cooperative and sharing relationship with its fellow cells and becomes "God," as it were, or from another point of view, ceases to be part of "God." Instead of remaining integrated and adapted to the body, the cancer cell creates a social body of its own design that feeds on its host.
Cell biologist L.L. Larison Cudmore examines the morality of cancer, which opposes the natural pattern on the cellular level. She says:
"Cancer cells do not respect the territorial rights of other cells and refuse to obey the two rules obeyed by all other cells: they neither stop growing nor stop moving when they encounter another cell, and they do not stick to their own kind. Quite simply, they are cells that have decided on autonomy and independent growth, rather than cooperation. There would be little in this to criticize if they were discreet about it. But they are not. They run amok with as much violence and insensibility as any Malay caught in that terrifying frenzy. Cancer will not stop its hideous course of uncontrolled growth and invasion until it or its victim is dead. Cancer is illegal and dishonest. It secretes a substance that lures blood vessels to it. Once supplied with its own circulation network, it pirates nutrients from the body, in greedy and ever-increasing insatiability. It turns invasive, growing into other tissues, dissolving the connections between cells with Samson-like strength. It can bore holes in muscle and bones. As it divides, its daughter cells lose more and more of what was once the fine sensibilities of the cell. They do not stay with their parental mass they leave, and totally undismayed by the fact that they may not belong in a kidney, a liver, or a lung, they colonize these organs with as little regard for any of the right of the inhabitants as the worst of human imperialists. They grow and grow. Over cells, and around cells, stealing their food and space."1
The beginnings of individual psychology in empire start with the severance from the mother, the birth process. In the culture of empire, fear begins at birth. The birthing method of modern industrial medicine itself causes deep-set psychological fear and insecurity. Arthur Janov is the author of The Primal Scream, originator of Primal Therapy and a researcher for many years into the psychological complexities of the birthing process. He comments on the differences between contemporary and natural birthing methods:
"In one of society's great paradoxes, our supposedly most advanced methods have produced the most primitive consequences, and in the most primitive societies we find the most advanced (that is, natural and beneficent) birth practice: the simple stoop-squat-deliver method. Modern technology must not interfere with natural processes but should be used instead to aid those practices."2
Joseph Chilton Pearce in his study of childhood psychology, Magical Child, points out certain stage-specific actions that are carried out during the birthing process. The periodic contractions of the vaginal canal massage and enliven the peripheral nerve endings in the skin of the baby who is emerging from a fluid environment of nearly 100 degree heat. The periodic contractions also begin compressing the chest, beginning the breathing action that is soon to come. As the baby emerges from the vaginal canal, it is grasped by the mother and put to her chest where it can again hear the heart beat that it has known for nine months. At this point the mother looks into the baby's eyes (Pearce says this is extremely important in the bonding process). As the mother looks into the eyes of the child she begins stroking the baby which further activates the nerve endings of the skin. At some safe point after this, the umbilical cord is cut and the mother presses the baby to her nipple. The chemistry of the mother's milk is stage specific and it changes as the baby grows through the biological stages until weaning.
Birthing is one of the great transformations of life and to help generate the vigor to survive this experience the common blood supply of the mother and child produce a stress hormone, cortisol. Pearce feels that drinking the mother's milk just after birth helps the body of the infant eliminate this substance so that it becomes calm.
The process of bonding of mother and child is exemplified by the old story of the baby duck that bonds to the first thing that it perceives after coming out of its shell. Humorous stories are told of the baby duck that bonds with the family dog, people and other animals. The process of bonding is as fundamental as the bonding of proton and electron. The process of bonding happens on many levels and in subtle ways. An important kind of bonding is for living things to be bonded with their home, the living earth and cosmos. Bonding is a positive psychological relationship that provides a sense of self and the security of being at "home."
Janov, Pearce and many others think that the brief sequence of bonding during birthing is one of the most important in an individual's life. It is this sequence that produces the proper bond between mother and child. It is at this initial point of the sequence of bondings, beginning with the mother and then radiating out to include the earth, that the subconscious tenor of the child is imprinted for the balance of its life. In the modern medical setting the infant may be subjected to the stress of a cesarean operation where there is no birthing sequence or alternatively the infant's first contact with the outside world may be the drugs carried to it from the mother through the placental wall. The chances are good that the infant will feel the metal of the forceps around its head, pulling it out of the mother. The infant will be held up, swatted to begin the breathing and then handed to a nurse for deposit on a cold metal scale. The baby is then deposited alone in the sterility of the maternity ward.
That the few moments in which all of this takes place can make such a substantial difference in one's whole life is shown by a discovery made in Uganda. Joseph Chilton Pearce relates that Marcelle Gerber who was doing research for the United Nations Children's Fund in Uganda discovered what the researchers considered "genius" babies:
"She found the most precocious, brilliant, and advanced infants and children ever observed anywhere. These infants had smiled, continuously and rapturously, from, at the latest, their fourth day of life. Blood analyses showed that all the adrenal steroids connected with birth stress were totally absent by that fourth day after birth. Sensorimotor learning and general development was phenomenal, indeed miraculous. These Ugandan infants were months ahead of American or European children."3
After causing a stir among child development specialists it was discovered that there were some babies in Uganda whose development resembled that of industrial medicine countries. These babies they found in the few hospitals in Uganda:
"Gerber found that they did not smile until some two and a half months after birth. Nor were they precocious in any sense. They showed no signs of Sensorimotor learning, displayed no uncanny intelligence for some two and a half months, at which point some signs of intelligence were apparent. Blood analyses showed that high levels of adrenal steroids connected with birth stress were still prevalent at two and a half months. These infants slept massively, cried when awake, were irritable and colicky, frail and helpless. So the issue was not in some racial predisposition toward early intellectual growth. The issue lay solely with what happens to the newborn infant in hospitals."4
Birth trauma and the failure of bonding are serious matters to the future life of the baby. Such a simple thing as cutting the umbilical cord too quickly in the modern assembly-line hospital setting causes irreparable harm by causing brain lesions- minor strokes, which are referred to as anoxia. Newell Kephart, Director of the Achievement Center for Children at Purdue University, says that 15 to 20 percent of all children examined had learning and behavior problems resulting from minor undetected brain injury. Others say that 20 to 40 percent of the school population are handicapped by learning problems that may be related to neurological impairments at birth.5
Pearce in his study Magical Child, tells of the tests done by medical doctor William F. Windle. Windle became doubtful about the birthing methods of industrial medicine and created a test with monkeys, (who normally need no help giving birth). Windle took a number of pregnant monkeys and subjected them to the normal hospital birthing methods, including drugs, anesthesia, forceps and the cutting of the umbilical cord in the usual time he had seen it done in hospitals.
He found that because of the drugs and anesthesia the baby monkeys could not breathe and needed the artificial resuscitation that hospitals customarily use. Instead of clinging to the mother shortly after emergence, Windle's monkey babies were helpless and could not perform this task. In fact they could not cling to their mothers for several weeks.
Later Windle autopsied the infants that had died during birth or whom did not live full term. He found severe brain lesions in every case from the anoxia at birth. Later he autopsied the monkeys who lived to adulthood and found that they also had brain lesions. Windle later autopsied human babies that had died during birth or shortly after and found that they had brain lesions similar to the monkeys in his tests.
Brain lesions are not the only effect of modern birthing methods. The imprints of the birth trauma itself are often severe. The mass institution of modern industrially based medicine, with its vast array of expensive machinery and industrially produced drugs seems to produce results consonant with the quality of civilization itself- mechanicalness, unfeelingness and human alienation. Instead of the warm comfort of the mother, the infant is treated as an object, slapped by a stranger and taken away by another stranger into a nursery where it is put into a crib. It is at this point that civilized people often bond to material objects, namely, the security blanket. Pearce asks, "What is the great learning? What is being built into the very fibers of that mind-brain-body system as the initial experiences of life?" It is that, "Encounters with people are causes of severe, unbroken, unrelenting stress, and that stress finds its only reduction through contact with material objects."6
Even a satisfactory birth is one of the great traumatic experiences of any individual's life. The birth experience is in fact a fight for life. Fetal death is the fifth cause of death in the U.S. Arthur Janov as a psychiatrist had been early led to birth trauma as the origin of some of his patients' problems. After some years he created a method of therapy that involved conscious recall of the birth experience. He found that if the conscious adult could relive the birth experience and understand the experience within the adult context, the symptoms of fears, phobias, mental blocks and so forth would evaporate. He began to call this Primal Therapy.
After years of work with Primal Therapy, Janov concludes:
"I have seen every possible combination and permutation of mental illness. I have seen what bad families can do, what orphanages and rejection can do, what rape and incest can do and it is still my opinion that birth and pre-birth trauma are prepotent over almost any later kind of trauma. For in that birth process is stamped the way we are going to handle our lives thereafter. Personality traits are engraved. Ways of looking at the world are imprinted. Attitudes are shaped. What we will become is found in the birth matrix.
"The best testimony I know of to the importance of altered birth practices is the qualitative difference between children born naturally and non-traumatically and those born under conventional circumstances. The second best testimony I know of is the enormous change that takes place in Primal patients who have relived the traumas they underwent at birth."
The birth trauma, as Janov describes, is the first imprint upon the person, but is not the last. There is the important matter of the bonding sequence that Joseph Chilton Pearce and others describe.
The Failure of Bonding
The bonding of newborns, the integration and adaptation of natural culture to the living earth, food chains, and the web of ecology are all similar phenomena. These functions are how life integrates itself. As we proceed, we will see that the violation of the bonding of infants is an important factor in the creation of the psychology of empire culture. In modern society we see the progressive violation of these patterns, especially with modern birthing methods. Marshall Klaus of Case Western Reserve Hospital, who is considered to be one of the top authorities on the functioning of the bonding process, feels that it is an instinctual response genetically built into mother and baby. It may be that hormones are involved in the process and it is obvious that breast-feeding has much to do with it.
The innate phenomenon of bonding has long been observed in domesticated animals. In the case of domesticated sheep it has been found that if the mother sheep is prevented from licking the after-birth from the body of the baby sheep the chances are very high that the baby will die.
Some anthropologists have commented on the depth of bonding in Natural cultures. When observers were looking for that effect, they reported that bonding was so close that the children when carried (such as on the hip) were never messy because the mothers knew by conscious rapport when the child had to urinate or defecate.7
In civilization the process of bonding is often much distorted, creating stress in later life. Even before birth, if the baby is gestated by a neurotic, stress filled mother, the baby is already accustomed to stress through participation in the blood supply of the mother with its load of adrenal hormones. If stress hormones from the mother impact the babies in utero they are already being imprinted with free floating, non-objective anxieties that may stay with them the rest of their lives.
Pearce says that the development of intelligence and the learning of identity happens as the child interacts with the environment that it is bonded to, its matrix. The child is filled with intent to explore and interact with its worlds. The worlds (matrices) are the content to be known. The process of bonding says Pearce, begins with the mind-brain structuring its knowledge of its first matrix, the womb. On emerging from the womb, the mother becomes the matrix. When the child emerges from the mother it is placed on her chest where it can hear the familiar heartbeat. In the developing series of bondings that Pearce describes a child going through, it is by its knowledge of the previous matrix that the child is able to relate to the new. In order to adjust to the new matrix the child must be able to relate it to something that it already knows, such as hearing the mothers heart-beat in utero and on the mother's chest.
"Biologically, we are supported at each matrix shift with enhanced physical ability, a spurt of new brain growth that prepares us for new learning, and specific shifts of the brain's ways of processing information," says Pearce.8 The cycles of developmental bondings are timed essentially the same in the whole species, and in different cultures they may differ slightly in timing, but never in sequence. The physical changes accompanying these bonding sequences go on irrespective of the bonding or failure of bonding that takes place.
At birth the child emerges from the womb and learns, ideally, to bond to the mother. From its secure place near the heartbeat the child is focused on the mother's face and body. From this secure place the child begins to perceive the earth, the outer environment, its next matrix. At approximately the twenty-fourth month the brain of the child achieves a spurt of development and the next bonding, to that of the earth begins. The child, secure in its bonding to the mother begins to explore the world. The child touches and tastes the world and develops physical and personal power in dealing with it.
At age seven a bonding shift occurs and the child begins to become aware of self. "Autonomy-becoming physically independent of parental help and learning to physically survive the principles of the physical world-is the goal of the period," Pearce says.9 At age seven the growth of the corpus callosum, a late-developing organ of the brain, has been completed and another brain growth spurt occurs. It is at this age that childhood art changes worldwide. Childhood art maintains an essential sameness up to this period when the art begins to change according to the new information of the culture that is being assimilated. It is at this stage that the child stands in the earth matrix and explores into the self. At this stage the child develops personal power and creative logic but this is power and logic based in the concreteness of the physical world. (Unfortunately it is at this point that civilized children are forced to deal with abstract word and idea systems that have no relationship with immediate physical reality.) At a point when the "left brain" system is attempting to develop, the child is put into the anxiety ridden, win/lose educational institution and forced to learn the abstract cultural logic and idea systems, rather than immediate cause and effect physical logic, such as arrow making or deer stalking.
At around the age of eleven the child begins naturally to separate word from the object. Here the child begins to develop abstract thinking. After sexual maturity the person begins to bond to the mind, begins to understand that it is not it's own thoughts and emotions, but is the observer of them.
An important point made in Pearce's work is that the trajectory of the series of bondings from child to adult is from matter toward abstraction. The series of bondings lead from the womb, to mother, to earth, to self, to mind and although not stressed by Pearce, one could consider the realization of spirit as the final outcome.
The design of the biological plan for individual human development is the growth of autonomy both as physical organism in the physical world and as an autonomous personality in the world of thought. In the intricate and complex pattern of nature, the final series of transformations bears the person out into the cosmos as an independent being.
Ideally, in a natural culture surrounded by the living earth, this biological process should bear a human out onto the surface of the planet with full understanding of their identity as an authentic life form that will take its place in the natural world as do all other organisms. In the natural web of life, each organism has a purpose- to live, and to aid in the furtherance of biological life. Whether it is the bison spreading the grass seed and manuring the landscape or the tiny coral reef organisms creating rich habitat for many other life forms, all have a contributory role and each has an identity given by its nature and its place in the metabolism. There should be no identity crisis and there should be no anxiety experienced by one psychically secure in the knowledge that they are located where they should be and doing what their nature dictates.
This does not necessarily mean that humans must be forager/hunters, but it does mean that humans need understand their grounding identity as organic beings and participants in the life of the earth and the necessity of living in balance with that life. As Pearce describes the experience of the child growing up in modern society, he finds violations of these natural bondings at every turn, which reinforce the alienating effect of the original birth trauma. This is alienation from the body of the mother, the social body and the body of the earth.
Free Floating Anxiety: The Negative Psychological State of Civilization
From the point of the birth trauma and failure of proper bonding the young civilized human is beset by anxiety. Not being grounded in the reality of self and earth, the human tends to bond to and identify with material objects and to word-built ideological systems. The focus of attention is not the relationship between the humans and the living earth- the focus of attention in industrial, imperial culture is on the society and its products.
In this shifting field, the question of identity rages, but the underlying emotional state remains constant- anxiety. Fear and anxiety causes the decline of consciousness. Fear takes the mind off more expansive, intuitive questions of life in the universe and focuses the attention on immediate safety. Fear also creates the need to control. This urge to control, which is a fundamental factor of empire culture, comes about with the anxiety stricken child. The child (or adult in the same psychic situation) who is not centered within itself, experiences fear. The child attempts to reassure itself of its security by trying to control its environment, the things and people around it, usually in this case an adult. If the child can get the adults to respond on cue it becomes reassured of its security- momentarily. This is the civilized situation- suffering constant anxiety, attempting to control and manipulate a shifting social and ecological background. The culture as a whole in the larger realm relates to the planetary life in the same manner.
Both socially and individually, the culture of empire is devoted to the maximization of material wealth. Natural culture is devoted to the maximization of life. The culture of the empire is severed from its matrix in the life of the earth and becomes a reality solely of the intellect, furnished with symbols and meanings having little relationship to the earth. The child, having suffered rebuffs to the emotional body, having withdrawn emotionally because of birth trauma and the competitive psychic environment, is taught by the school system to seek rewards through the exercise of the intellect and restrict emotional empathy. The child begins to invest meaning in word-built realities. The child begins to live abstractly, alienated by filtering its perception of reality through these intellectual images.
Fear is the basic motor of the empire. It is a basic, fundamental, psychic fear convincing humans it is necessary to do something to achieve identity rather than to be something, inherently, as a source of one's identity. When this occurs people move out of balance with the natural world. The human of the empire no longer has a home, no longer has an identity in the balanced universe, so it is always seeking to create its emotional sustenance and security by accumulating material objects-inflating its identity- and by controlling its environment as much as possible. The subconscious mind, the vegetative mind, runs the body, just as the mind of the world runs its organic body on its level of being. Yogis, who have conscious control of their "involuntary" physical systems, or persons in hypnotic trance, are able to control their heartbeat and circulation as well as direct their vegetative apparatus to do various things. This aspect of mind is the same mind as the consciousness of plants, or that aspect which empowers the bodies of all animals in a natural state. This organic mind is the whole mind of the world, our basic identity. In the psyche of empire this mind is submerged. People become cut off from the very basis of their existence. The focus of consciousness is forced up predominately into the intellect; the quick surface thinker needed when playing fast moving games of power and wealth. While the anxiety of not fundamentally knowing one's identity slips below the threshold of conscious attention, it still endures. The person becomes cut off from their dream life, cut from the hunches and intuition that formerly helped the human negotiate in the natural world.
Further disintegration develops when the socially conditioned mind begins to injure the body. A fundamental conflict develops between the conscious mind, its ideas and the vegetative mind with its realities of cellular cooperation and metabolism. Negative emotion and negative thoughts immediately poison the body through the production of stress hormones that are loaded into the blood stream by the endocrine gland system. This injures the body just as do dietary habits- such as anorexia or bulimia-that have emotional motive rather than a feeding motive.
A psychogenic illness is one in which the mind injures the body. In extreme cases of psychogenic illness, the ideas in the conscious mind have impacts on the vegetative mind resulting in organic damage and sometimes death. Bleeding ulcers, colitis, spastic bowel syndrome, asthma and migraine headaches are results of a conscious reaction to the environment that the consciousness exists in, which are communicated to the vegetative mind.
The organic aspect of the human body follows the pattern of the cosmos. It seeks to maintain balance internally among all its parts. Scientists refer to this balancing as homeostasis. This homeostasis results from the operation of the organic system adapting to the environment on its own level. As the body goes through its life, it makes internal changes in response to external stimuli of the environment seeking to keep the body on an "even keel" of blood pressure, temperature and so forth.
Though the biological organism maintains homeostasis, the mind can be the fly in the ointment. A human, living in the natural world responds to the physical reality of threat with the familiar fight or flight syndrome accompanied by shots of adrenaline and blood sugar into the system preparing them for the physical exertion necessary. In civilized culture there is a serious problem involved with this adaptive mechanism. The problem is that the physical operations of the flight or fight syndrome are connected with the emotions. If a saber tooth tiger is charging, the body responds to the threat by physically gearing up to meet it. The body responds in the same way when a person is sitting quietly in a chair watching television and sees something on the screen about the threat of Communism or Capitalism to which they have been programmed to respond, so that it makes them angry and emotionally upset. The stress hormones produced in the body are not used because there is no tiger and no physical exertion. Instead, the substance that would aid muscle activity lies in the physical system and slowly poisons it- because it has not been excreted in physical exertion.
The culture of empire is a culture of insecurity, tension and competitive conflict. This generalized emotional tenor has profound effects. Most of the top ten causes of death for example are generally related to stress. Negative emotional states, interpersonal conflict or the bill collector may trigger the body's endocrine gland system to gear up for extreme physical effort when none is needed. Dr. Hans Selye who has done years of research on this, which he calls the General Adaptation Syndrome, describes what occurs in the body when this stress reaction is triggered:
"The stressor excites the hypothalamus (through pathways not yet fully identified) to produce a substance that stimulates the pituitary to discharge the hormone ACTH (for adrenocorticotrophic hormone) into the blood. ATCH in turn induces the external, cortical portion of the adrenal to secrete corticoid. These elicit thymus shrinkage, simultaneously with many other changes, such as atrophy of the lymph nodes, inhibition of inflammatory reactions, and production of sugar (a readily available source of energy). Their production is facilitated through an increased level of corticoid in the blood, but the autonomic nervous system also plays a role in eliciting ulcers."10
It is from the constant triggering of these physical systems that damage to the body occurs- caused by ideas in the mind-ideas conditioned into the mind by culture.
Heart disease, such as the stressed-based heart disease in the empire, is generally absent in Natural culture. Cancer is also unknown in Natural culture. Cancer is caused by a malfunction of the autoimmune system. Everyone's body produces malformed cancerous cells all of the time. In a properly functioning body these cells are eliminated by the body's autoimmune defense system. It is when the auto-immune system loses its sense of identity, loses its ability to tell self from other, that the cancer cell is able to multiply, create tumor bodies and establish colonies. This is doubly dangerous when the autoimmune system fails and toxic and other intrusions from the environment multiply.
Industrial medicine uses the words autoimmune system but this obscures the reality. The autoimmune system is the vegetative consciousness of the body. This function of telling self from other, knowing one's identity, is a function of consciousness itself and it is the malfunction of this that is causing serious medical problems in the culture of empire. Cancer, AIDS, allergies, candida albicans and other maladies are caused by "auto-immune system" failures. It is the failure of identity, the failure of the mind to know what it is, that is the base of the problem. Though this is the base of the problem it is known that events and substances such as toxics and antibiotics can "shock" the body consciousness into bewilderment about its identity.
The psycho-biological problem of identity exists with the individual as well as the body of empire, which does not recognize itself as an organic entity of the earth.
The Crisis of Identity
The human identity crisis now threatens the earth. When one observes the activities of civilization, aside from all the talk, one sees that the dominant conception of human purpose on earth is believed to be the creation and accumulation of material objects. People think of their possessions as part of their identity. Social status, positions and degrees are also accumulated but wealth is the base of the identity question.
The civilized baby that was, just after birth, symbolically and literally bonded to the material "security blanket," ultimately begins to identify with its accumulation. The child derives emotional gratification from material objects. No longer does the human have an organic identity but achieves identity by personal effort of accumulation within the context of a highly stratified and intellectualized society in which abstract mental symbology- ideology- has more perceived reality than the living forms of the earth. It is this cultural conditioning in the minds of billions that is driving the earth to destruction.
For several million years humans identified themselves as part of a living, spiritually vivified earth. One of the essential differences between nomadic, forager/hunter cultures and the culture of empire is that in a sharing culture, persons do not have the deeply imbedded impulse to hang on to things, especially when they have to carry them on their backs. Their existence and their identity are not predicated on what they have or the competitive heights that they may have struggled to.
Although tribal people admire their members for innate talents and for personal achievements, these factors are not brought about by socially structured competition. Tribal people who are secure in the flow of life, secure in the knowledge that the mothering earth produces life and sustenance continually, do not allow material goods to divide them or to become an issue. In Natural culture it is people who share the most that are held in the most esteem. Jules Henry, who has lived with many natural cultures during his life as an anthropologist, summarizes his view of this issue in his book Culture Against Man. He observes that contemporary, civilized people place no limit on their desires for material goods. He says:
"Most, though by no means all, primitive societies are provided with intuitive limits on how much property may be accumulated by one person, and the variety of ways in which primitive society compels people to rid themselves of accumulated property is almost beyond belief. Distributing it to relatives, burning it at funerals, using it to finance ceremonies, making it impossible to collect debts in any systematic way-these and many other devices have been used by primitive culture, in veritable terror of property accumulation, to get rid of it. Rarely does primitive society permit the accumulation of vast quantities of wealth."11
In civilization, only by continual accumulation in the competitive field of object ownership can one continue to "furnish" one's identity. A study done by the Chicago Tribune shows that the urge to accumulate is not simply a motive of greed but is also an institutionalized behavior. It is a means of emotional sustenance. The study looks at shopping sprees of upper middle class housewives:
"Our excursions into specific stores-and particularly the excursions women take to fashionable clothing stores-indicate more than we realize about our status and our status aspirations. The clothing we buy says a great deal about our status. The Chicago Tribune's study of shoppers and their habits in three homogenous communities outside Chicago reveals that many women see the shopping trip to a prestige store (regardless of any purchase made) as a ritual which, if successful, reassures the woman of her own high status. The trip, the Tribune's investigators found, 'enables her to test her self conception status-wise against the conception others hold of her.'
"Such women dress up for the shopping trip. They strive to look their most chic and poised, and if the trip is a success they feel 'Pride, pleasure, prestige' in patronizing the store and in the satisfaction of 'looking down' on the customers of the lower status store (where women typically don't dress up to shop). Some women said it made them 'feel good' just to go into a high status store. The investigators concluded that 'shopping at a prestige store enhances the status of the shoppers and vice versa.' "12
The Anguish of Sexual Love in the Empire
Anguish, shame, guilt and automatic negative response to sexual love is so deep in the culture and in all of us that discussing it brings up fear and aversion. This is the reason that it must be discussed, because it is fundamental to understanding the social effects that radiate from this physical relationship. Here again is another force in personal psychology that tends to separate and fragment when the very functioning of sex and love is to unify. The eminent psychologist Wilhelm Reich became a martyr because of the anxiety concerning this act. In his clinics he looked at the condition of sexual love among thousands of people. He said that the culture causes people to be sexually dysfunctional and that this cripples their lives. The reaction of the culture and of the authorities to Reich, displays the hysteria that tends to confirm what he was saying. When Wilhelm Reich began his work in Germany in the early 1930's he was ostracized from the Freudian circles of orthodox psychology. When he persisted in discussing the severe problem of sexual distortion among industrial youth, he was thrown out of the Communist Party of Germany. Still he persisted and had to flee Germany to Scandinavia when Hitler came to power. Still fleeing, he arrived in the U.S.A. where he was persecuted by the Food and Drug Administration, thrown in prison and because of complications, died- in a U.S. jail. Reich was persecuted because he challenged what he called the "emotional plague," the "pleasure anxiety" (the fear of pleasure) that is generalized throughout civilized society, and particularly the Judeo-Christian heritage. With all organisms, the function of reproducing themselves is a central part of their life activities. Reproducing is as important a function as eating. In human society the sex and reproduction function is a central fact. In the patriarchal culture of empire, the control of sexual love and of women is a basic pattern. Women are culturally defined and socially controlled for the sexual use of men and for the reproduction of children and workers. The control of sex and the definition of women, as under the control of men, have been a pivotal fact in the history of empire. It is this pattern of sexual control mechanisms of the empire that Reich challenged. Reich states that:
"...All biological impulses and sensations can be reduced to the fundamental functions of expansion (elongation, dilatation) and contraction (constriction)."13 This elementary contraction/expansion function of organisms is expressed in the human sympathetic and para-sympathetic nervous systems. Reich says that the para-sympathetic system is operative wherever there is "expansion, elongation, hyperemia, turgor and pleasure. The sympathetic is operative whenever there is contraction, withdrawal of blood from the periphery, anxiety and pain. In the state of being when the para-sympathetic nervous system is functioning, the body experiences pleasurable excitement, the peripheral blood vessels dilate, the heart itself expands (parasympathetic dilatation), the heart beat becomes slow and even and the skin reddens." This is a biological state akin to reaching out to the universe in acceptance and positive emotional states. In the contractive, sympathetic state characterized by fear and defense, "the heart contracts and beats rapidly and forcibly," it has to drive the blood through constricted blood vessels and its work is hard.14
In Reich's view, upbringing in a typical authoritarian and patriarchal, civilized family, promotes the contractive, damming-up of energies that lead to later emotional problems. It is the patriarchal family that instills the sex repression on a subconscious level. Toilet training at the same age is another culprit says Reich. Defecation is also a pleasurable act but because of authoritarian toilet training, becomes associated with negative emotion and anal retention. These childhood training practices plus the general experience of growing up in a sex, pleasure-repressed culture create a generalized "pleasure anxiety" in the population. Just as they are taught by early conditioning, people react negatively and contractively to the experience of physical pleasure.
The natural sexual energy becomes dammed up and finds release in pathways other than natural sexuality. Release is found in expressions such as constant anxiety, muscular spasms, pathological sexual distortions, neurosis of various kinds and the internalization of the discipline practiced by society and family. In Reich's view, a fundamental of emotional health is orgiastic potency. "Orgiastic potency is the capacity for surrender to the flow of biological energy without any inhibition, the capacity for complete discharge of all dammed-up sexual excitation through involuntary pleasurable contractions of the body."15
This is the positive emotional opening of oneself to the lover and the universe which is much different than "conquering" someone for a unilateral sexual act.
As the child is conditioned to avert itself from physical pleasure, says Reich, the emotional and sexual energy becomes contracted and accumulated in the body of the person. The person has become conditioned to be his own emotional censor. When this flow of energy is blocked it results in tension and spasms of the muscles that Reich describes as, "neurosis anchored in the musculature." From this he derives the concept of "body armor." Body armor is the peculiar contraction of the body and face that shows how people hold tension in the musculature.
Having stolen the individual's chance for psychic health and independence, civilization instills the authoritarian censor, dependence and conformity. Reich feels that the authoritarian, sex-repressed upbringing leads to a dependent person. This person has little personal power and being powerless- psychically and socially- yearns for, admires and focuses unnatural amounts of attention on questions of power. This is the key, says Reich, to the mystery of the working classes of industrial society that admire and vote for authoritarian personalities like Hitler. They admire them because they represent power, which is the object of the yearnings of the financially, institutionally, and emotionally powerless laboring classes on the bottom rung of industrial society.
Characterizing the sex and pleasure repressed civilized person, Reich says, "He is helpless, incapable of freedom, and he craves authority, because he cannot react spontaneously he is armored and wants to be told what to do, for he is full of contradictions and cannot rely upon himself."16
The sex-repressed, armored and dependent person exists in a negative emotional state. This person is easy prey for philosophies of violence that tell him that he is the most "evolved." This is the emotional seedbed from which spring violent mass movements. In joining the mass movement the individual identifies with it and becomes transformed into something of power and importance. In a more general way this is the same rationale as the justification for colonialism practiced by the more "evolved" imperial culture.
A Culture of Violence
Persons who are secure and centered with their place on the earth and within themselves do no feel a need to make gratuitous displays of power nor are they pre-occupied with questions of power. It is fear that generates the questions of security, violence and power that rage within the culture of empire. It is fear that underlies the ubiquitous defensive responses in empire culture. Empire has always been a culture of violence. That is its basis. The historian Barbara Tuchman gives us a glimpse of earlier scenes from Fourteenth Century Europe- of the culture that we have inherited:
"Violence was official as well as individual. Torture was authorized by the Church and regularly used to uncover heresy by the Inquisition. The tortures and punishments of civil justice customarily cut off hands and ears, racked, burned, flayed, and pulled apart people's bodies. In everyday life passersby saw some criminal flogged with a knotted rope or chained upright in an iron collar. They passed corpses hanging on the gibbet and decapitated heads and quartered bodies impaled on stakes on the city walls. In every church they saw pictures of saints undergoing varieties of atrocious martyrdom-by arrows, spears, fire, cut-off breasts-usually dripping blood. The crucifixion with its nails, spears, thorns, whips, and more dripping blood was inescapable. Blood and cruelty were ubiquitous in Christian art, indeed essential to it, for Christ became Redeemer, and the saints sanctified, only through suffering violence at the hands of their fellow man.
"In village games, players with hands tied behind them competed to kill a cat nailed to a post by battering it to death with their heads, at the risk of cheeks ripped open or eyes scratched out by the frantic animal's claws. Trumpets enhanced the excitement. Or a pig enclosed in a wide pen was chased by men with clubs until, to the laughter of spectators, he ran squealing from the blows until beaten lifeless. Accustomed in their own lives to physical hardship and injury, medieval men and women were not necessarily repelled by the spectacle of pain, but rather enjoyed it. The citizens of Mons bought a condemned criminal from a neighboring town so that they should have the pleasure of seeing him quartered. It may be that the less than tender medieval infancy produced adults who valued others no more than they had been valued in their own formative years."17
Though everyday violence is not now as visible in the First World countries as it was in the Fourteenth Century, mass violence of modern warfare, mass starvation and poverty are ever present. Violence also continues to pervade the culture on a more subtle level in such things as entertainment and war toys. The culture of empire is not a cooperative endeavor; it is a culture of competition, violence and coercion. Fear is used in the empire to condition the masses and maintain elites in power. The elites understand well that if the masses are powerless, fragmented and frightened they will assent to domination by a strong "protector." They will demand it. If societies in the culture of empire do not have enemies they will create them. If there is no current war, they will create one.
The Cold War is a classic example of the creation of fear in the populace so that the elite could consolidate power and get agreement to fund a vast militarization of society that gives huge profits to the elite and restricts the political rights of the masses.
The mass media which gives the point of view of the elite, focuses not on appealing to us to work peacefully, cooperatively and in a sharing way with each other for equal benefits for all, but on threats to the society and the individual's security. In this emotional climate, the most violent television programming attracts the widest audience. Violence, carnage and death are the themes of the mass media. When these impressions are created, the elites then appeal to the masses to give them more power and taxes so that everyone may be protected. If people are isolated, insecure and terrified, they will give up their self-determination and independence in return for protection.
Institutionalizing the Masses
The structure of hierarchical power in empire culture is holographically reflected in mass social institutions. Spontaneity and independent self-direction is conditioned out of the individual and in its place is put the values of empire. Obedience, "dependability" and mechanicalness are imposed. The patriarchal, authoritarian family is a mini-empire where the children are conditioned early for their later life in mass institutions. The lives of the people in industrial society are governed by these institutions (zoning departments, planning departments, investment councils, motor vehicle departments, educational institutions, huge industrial bureaucracies, government bureaucracies and all the others that govern mass society). The people have little or no control over these institutions and are dependent upon them. Their lives are controlled from birth.
The mass educational institutions controlled by political elites are the most important institutions for social conditioning. They teach empire culture. If Natural culture children are put in these institutions, they fail. The reason they fail is that the maturity of Natural culture teaches the young that it is unseemly to struggle to be superior to one's fellows. The immodesty and divisiveness of children frantically waving their hands to give the answer first and receive recognition in a modern classroom, is the epitome of the desperate win/lose competitive conditioning of empire culture. After we, in our youth, have sat in a classroom with our heads pointed toward the blackboard, nodding in an affirmative manner for eighteen years, we have been furnished with a world-view that exists on a subconscious as well as a conscious level. Acculturation- social conditioning- is the same phenomenon as a suggestion given in hypnotic trance. A suggestion given several times in deep hypnotic trance (a highly concentrated focus of attention) effects a change in the subconscious mind. But the same thing occurs in light trance (any focused state of attention) with repetition over a lengthy period of time, such as schooling (or television watching). In this way the culture creates images of reality that exist on subconscious levels. Though it has little relationship to the cosmically created reality of the life of the earth, it becomes real for the individual by the daily reinforcement in socially created situations. The personal daily life, the artificial environments and the images presented by the mass media, all combines into an internally consistent "picture" of the world, that to us is reality.
Mass institutions facilitate the control of societies by small elites. Control of society by a small elite insures inequality. Imperial culture has developed from the days when the emperor owned everything to the point now that a small elite own and control the important factors of society. They then delegate authority down the hierarchy. This pattern of ruling and owning other people is so thorough that patriarchy seems natural to the population. Paulo Freire, in his book, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, is concerned with empowering people in the urban slums of Brazil by teaching them to read. He writes of the difficulty of people on the bottom rung of the hierarchy, being able to realize their personal power and independence- their liberation. He writes, "...Almost always, during the initial stage of the struggle, the oppressed, instead of striving for liberation, tend themselves to become oppressors, or 'sub-oppressors.' The very structure of their thoughts has been conditioned by the contradictions of the concrete, existential situation by which they were shaped. Their ideal is to be men, but for them, to be men is to be oppressors. This is their model of humanity. This phenomenon derives from the fact that the oppressed, at a certain moment of their existential experience, adopt an attitude of 'adhesion' to the oppressor." In the social situation of powerlessness and dependency, Freire says, "The oppressed seek to ameliorate the conditions of their oppression by imitating the oppressor."18
The conditioning of social hierarchy is so deep that the people who colonized North America institutionalized political "freedom" but they could only conceive of white males as being included and then only the white male elite who owned property. Culturally, a hierarchy existed based on sex and race, with white males at the top. In early Babylonian hierarchies, brown males used huge, terrifying, blond, blue-eyed white tribal males of Northern Europe as palace guards. It is not race; it is the conditioning of empire culture that results in hierarchy. Hierarchy is distinction not inclusion. The culture highlights distinctions and differences because of the fundamental separative pattern. Everyone is not simply an equal member of a tribe; each person in empire has a different rank in the hierarchy of power that is demonstrated by wealth and privilege.
The dominance/submission syndromes conditioned into us by hierarchy are so deep that they cannot even be given up in the sexual embrace. In the empire, males are conditioned to "conquer" women and females are conditioned to "submit" to men. This is not an equal and real exchange of energies. This is a continuation of the psychic isolation. This alienation from our basic need for authentic human relationship is so deep that in the patriarchal, empire culture of the Arabs and some of the cultures in east Africa that have been contaminated by them, clitorectomy is practiced. Clitorectomy is the practice of cutting out the clitoris of young women. In some of these groups, most or all of the women have suffered this brutality. In all areas of empire, some degree of psychological clitorectomy is practiced.
In the culture of empire, most are suffering and they are conditioned to momentarily relieve the pain by sharing it with others. This shows the final spiritual destruction of the human family- to rob them of their humanity to the extent that they cannot even relate in terms of human relationship- spiritually, emotionally and physically. The exercise of the psychological pathology of empire is to coerce others and cause them pain as a demonstration of personal or institutional power.
It is the culture of empire that creates the ladders of power that in turn create anxiety stricken dependent people who will ape the boss for survival. Everyone is robbed of authenticity. Dominance and coercion allow a person to control others without having a real and respectful relationship. It is also this cultural context that produces the dominance/submission syndromes wherein people become servile to superiors and abusive toward inferiors. People in industrial society are not like the forager/hunter. They do not have the power of providing their own food or shelter. They are dependent on others to provide their physical security. No matter how high the executive position, if the paycheck-dependency linkage to the mass institution is cut, they become totally powerless. The route of personal power by achievement within institutionalized society can be cut at any time by those who have the real power- the elite class, so people must conform.
The authors Stanton Peele and Archie Brodsky in their seminal work, Love and Addiction, broke through many stereotypes to view the phenomena of addiction/dependency in a context of a culture of dependency. They say:
"Addiction is not an abnormality in our society. It is not an aberration from the norm, it is itself the norm. The dependency, which is addiction, is a mirror image of more basic dependencies that we learn at home and in school. The addict's search for a superficial, external resolution of life (whether through drugs or so-called 'love') follows directly from the superficial, external relationships we are led to have with each other, with our own minds and bodies, with the physical world, with learning and work and play." 19
The cosmos generates organic, self-regulating beings on the surface of the earth that function according to their own nature. The culture of empire enslaves the life of the planet and its beings and destroys this sense of identity for the aggrandizement of the elite.
The Social Isolate Becomes "Individualist"
Industrial society has seen a growth of mass institutions and an increase in the power of the elites. We have seen the clan disintegrate, we have seen the extended family disintegrate and the nuclear family has all but disintegrated. For millions of years the songs, oral literature, skills, wisdom and knowledge of the human family was passed down from generation to generation. This was human culture, decentralized and personally empowering to everyone. Now, the elites have usurped human culture and society is administratively and militarily controlled. No longer is human culture inherited familiarly. "Cultural" conditioning now comes from the institutions of schools, television and other forms of mass communications that is controlled by elites.
We are offered individual "success" by struggling up the hierarchical ladder of mass institutions. As power is consolidated by the industrial elites, the individual becomes more and more a social isolate. Contradictorily, the powerless, anxiety stricken individual is conditioned to believe that he is an individualist, a gunslinger or tycoon character amassing personal power. For several million years the clan has been our natural social reality. Now, not having a relationship to the natural world or the social reality of a clan, the individual human, who is already conditioned to be emotionally distant from others, becomes more of an emotional and social isolate depending on secondary relationships in the shadow world of glamorous illusions.
The ruse is total. Not knowing the security of life and the earth and not knowing the security of a natural clan providing the learning of human sociability, the industrial human becomes a victim of all the forces of society that tend to make the person powerless and dependent, the perfect subject of addictive dependencies. Rather than the satisfaction of physical pleasure and genuine social camaraderie, the person is conditioned to word-built realities- social and religious ideologies, which are themselves separative from the living earth and cosmos.
The emotions are inclusive. When one is angry, one is angry all over. People experience emotion in a unitary way. The intellect on the other hand is divisive and comparative. That is, its basic functioning is divisive in the way it works. The intellect divides and compares, measures each, decides this, not that. The intellect is by its nature divisive and this is what industrial people have been given- frozen emotional bodies, and over-exercised intellects.
Not only can ecological and social disintegration be traced to the structure of empire, but personal disintegration is caused as well. Psychologist Nathaniel Braden in his book The Psychology of Self-Esteem, says that:
"It is generally recognized by clinical psychologists and psychiatrists that pathological anxiety is the central and basic problem with which they must deal in psychotherapy- the symptom underlying the patient's other symptoms. The neurotic's essential attribute, his chronic response to the universe, is uncertainty and fear."20
When we psycho-biological isolates are finally cut from all natural relationship, we end up living in the "whole world" of the ego, that construct of the intellectual mind that sucks energy (by material accumulation and constant ego-reinforcement and gratification) into itself to defend against the state of non-being. This contraction of energy is the pattern of the neurotic.
The cancer cell, that psycho-biological resonance of empire, is also neurotic in the sense that it follows the same pattern. It also sucks energy out of the system that supports it without having reciprocal relationship with the whole. To continue the holistic, holographic analysis, the phenomenon of neuroticism that occurs to empire culture, as a whole, is reflected in militarism, conquest and acquisition- as its fear promotes it to suck energy into its contracted center.
The logical extrapolation of civilization is the mental institution. Because of the developmental failures that we have reviewed, we tend to fear authentic relationships with other people. We find our own personal world more comforting- the world of the ego/identity fortress. People who are so driven into themselves, who have become so self-centered that they can only focus on and talk about themselves (and their problems), we call neurotic. People who have retreated farther into the comfort of their own world and who begin to hear and sometimes answer voices, we call schizophrenic. People who retreat totally into their own satisfying world and who do not relate to the outside world we describe as catatonic. This, which is politically defined as insanity, is simply a logical extension of the already existing social isolation of the individual in the culture of empire. It is also the logical end of the culture itself in the cosmos, lost in space and surrounded by life but talking only to itself.
The culture of empire has stolen our natural power as human beings. By its cultural conditioning it has channeled the energy of emperor and slave alike into purposes that are anti-life and contrary to the welfare of the human family and the welfare of the earth.
Significantly, we live in a culture of such limited psychological rewards that the children kill themselves rather than grow up in it. In the U.S., which is said to be "the richest country in the world," the youth are committing suicide in epidemic numbers. In the age group 15 to 25, suicide is the number one cause of death.
The End of Empire
Life is community. Community is biological. Our innate experience of natural morality is a biological feeling. It is not an intellectualization or romanticism. To be kind, helpful, sharing, and joyful is a natural state that comes right out of our cellular existence. That sense of unity and positivity is the way the universe works. No matter how damaged any of us have been by the culture of empire, almost everyone retains at least some shred of this positive sensibility. The personal experience of security, solidarity, sharing and love is the experience of beauty just as is a walk through an undamaged forest or sitting on a remote beach.
With the loss of our free roaming natural life and direct relationship with the life of the cosmos came an all-enveloping attack upon the beauty of our lives and the earth. The beauty of our lives, the song, the dance, the direct participation in creation suffered, along with the beauty of the earth's body, the forest, the sparkling stream, the song of the bird and the call of the animals. The diseased human culture produced the ugliness of the injured and bleeding ecology, the eroding and withering life of the land and the visual ugliness of the modern city where the homeless huddle in cold doorways of architectural boxes and elites of the contracted social body grasp for absolute security behind heavily guarded barricades.
Separation, isolation, disintegration, and death is the process of empire that is suffered by the homeless, the executive of transnational corporations, social bodies of empire culture and the ecosystem alike.
Eight thousand years ago we began to see death of ecosystems from over-grazing and agriculture in Central Asia, the Indus Valley and China. Five thousand years ago we began to see the death of the conquered, the slaves and the land, as the empires grew. Two thousand years ago, death was accelerating with the Mediterranean empires. Five hundred years ago death was spreading planet-wide. Now all of the corners of the world are filled up. The finale of disintegration is upon us.
The swelling mass that eats up its own sustenance has now reached the end. There is no more, but the mass continues to swell. It is not likely that the habits of empire, set subconsciously in the minds of billions, can be reformed in the decade or two decades that would be necessary to save the situation. Barring transcendental transformation of the whole culture of empire, we will see the trends of ten thousand years of imperial history culminate in our lifetime.
The power of the empire is the power to destroy. Our role is not to fight for the power of destruction but to unify with the creative power of the cosmos. Our role is not to isolate, extort and destroy but to love, live and create.
We are not fighting to reform a maladaptive and dying social body. There is no conflict with civilization, it is passing away. There is no battle for civilization's power, the power to kill. There is only the open, positive and sharing sustenance of the new life. The emergence of the new growth is our focus of attention. The emergence of our new babies, the emergence of our new culture and the emergence of the new earth is the focus. We have the standards of existence on this planet before us. They are simple and fundamental. We are simply righting the inversion.
As with a physical wound, the imperial tissue that has lost integration with the body, lost coherence with the complex flows of energy, falls away. One allows the diseased and injured portions to fall away, while resisting injury to that which is still healthy. One focuses on the new growth, the area of healing. We attempt to protect the best that remains and focus on the new biological growth for the future. One focuses on the smiling faces of that seventh generation of the future that will be created.
A crisis, according to Webster, is, "A stage in a sequence of events at which the trend of all future events is determined, a turning point." In the case of civilization, it is now poised, tipping and beginning the slide into complete disintegration. We are at the cusp of the last cycle. Since World War II we have seen the acceleration of the disintegration. Human population and the consumption of the earth's life- "resources" have grown exponentially. Now the seepage of poisons is so great that everyone on earth is endangered. The seeping of poison is symbolic of the movement of the whole of industrial society. The popular parable of our situation is the boiling of the frog. If the frog is thrown in boiling water it will hop out. If the frog is put in cold water and the water is heated slowly the frog will not be able to recognize the rising of the heat. That is our situation. We do not consciously perceive the increments of dissolution. We now are at the pivot point where we still have the ability to maneuver. We are not yet in a state of social collapse with most of our valid options closed off.
Our future is not a political problem or a technical problem; it is a cultural problem. We live in a diseased culture. It is our way of life that is destroying the earth. Look at the big, dead and poisoned spot on the planet that is called a city. Simply the poisons that run off of it in rainstorms are killing life for miles around. Civilization is now so poisonous that if a city were blown up in a war the most severe danger would be from the spread of chemicals from factories as well as the nuclear power plants rather than simply from the bomb itself.
Humans easily could deal with the problem. Humans, individually have the innate abilities. If all humans on the planet could center their attention on the whole picture at the same moment, see the problem and then take action, the solution could be at hand. They would then reduce the birth rate to one child per woman and begin to live in balance and to restore the life of the earth. As the birth rate radically declined the "wealth" would increase proportionately.
Rather than wait for this to occur, we need take action now. We must overcome our paralysis of fear and confusion and take control of our lives. We must cease investing our emotional energy and condition in the events of civilization. It is diseased to the core. We must realize the "dear thing" cannot be saved, even with major surgery. Anytime change is presented to us we suffer a wave of reaction, a "security crisis." We begin to grasp for rationales. We begin to find reasons why we cannot change. "If we prepare to survive, 'they' will just come get what we have," is a customary response, which rests on some unexamined assumption that presents future masses of hungry refugees wandering about while "survivalists" sit on a pile of goodies. The image of the "survivalist" is the final extrapolation of the social isolate. The reality is- that if we cannot reach out to community, to cooperative self-organization, we cannot survive. It is the movement toward a positive and adaptive new culture that is needed.
The path leads back to the source. The standard to guide us is the "solar budget." We must allow the planet's life its net photosynthetic production, aid it, and live from the increase. The full-blown climax ecosystem is the standard of health for our earth. This means drastic reduction of human population density. We must return to what our human family has known for two million years, a life that produces life and encourages full participation by every member. This reality is our basic grounding. Our task is to create the healing of self, community and planet. There is no other way.
1 The Center Of Life. L.L. Larison Cudmore. New York Times pub. 1978. pp. 127-128.
2 Imprints: The Life Long Effects of the Birth Experience. Arthur Janov. Coward-McCann, Inc. pub. New York. 1983. p. 249.
3 Magical Child: Rediscovering Nature's Plan For Our Children. Joseph Chilton Pearce. Bantam pub. New York. 1980. pp. 42,43.
4 ibid. pp. 43,44.
5 ibid. pp. 56,57.
6 ibid. p. 70.
7 ibid. pp. 58,59.
8 ibid. pp. 19,20.
9 ibid. p. 25.
10 Stress Without Distress. Hans Selye, M.D. N.A.L. New York. 1974. p. 30.
11 Culture Against Man. Jules Henry. Random House. New York. 1963. P. 42.
12 The Status Seekers. Vance Packard. Cardinal. New York. 1965. pp. 112,113.
13 Function of the Orgasm. Wilhelm Reich. World Pub. New York. 1971. p. 257.
14 ibid. p. 258.
15 ibid. pp.77,78.
16 ibid. pp. 209,210.
17 A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th. Century. Barbara W. Tuchman. Ballantine Books. New York. 1979. p. 135.
18 Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Paulo Freire. Seabury Press. New York. 1970. pp. 29,30.
19 Love and Addiction. Stanton Peele & Archie Brodsky. Signet, NAL pub. New York. 1975. p. 6.
20 The Psychology of Self Esteem. Nathaniel Branden. Bantam Books. New York. 1981. p. 157.
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